Friday night at Franco Franco

How good does this look? We had just been to see a play at nearby Belvoir Street Theatre, and decided we “couldn’t go home” without a bit of desert. We explained this to the waiter, and somehow, in their really busy restaurant, still managed to get a really good table. As we talked over the play, we also listened in to the conversation of a nearby couple who were clearly on a first or second date. It was painful to listen to the small-talk as they posed trivial questions to each other. “Though later in life I might regret being single now, I just don’t think I could go through that again”, I told Sue. “I’m sure it’s much easier to go out to a bar get drunk, bring someone home and find out the next morning they’ve pretty much moved in. Well, it worked last time”, I added. Meanwhile, Sue had the gelato and I had a donut-like desert served with what appeared to be warm nutella. Yummo. Highly recommended.

Spice I Am for Lunch

“This is the best Larb I’ve ever had in my life”, a colleague said straight-faced as we sat and enjoyed lunch at Spice I Am today.

It was one of the rare occasions (sadly) where we made it out of the office together for lunch, and we ended up at Spice I am because the other place we had planned to visit was actually closed. I’ve been to Spice I Am on quite a few occasions before this, and so recommended it as a “second choice” being just around the corner from where we planned.

I had a pork dish, and as you can see, another colleague had a rather delicious prawn dish. “The prawns are very fresh”, she told us.

Every other time I’ve been to Spice I Am we’ve always had to wait in a queue. But being lunchtime instead of dinner, the restaurant was reasonably empty. Popular still, but not bursting at the seams, and so we ended up with a nice table. The service was friendly, but the meals came out slightly delayed. We COULD have shared, but were more interest in having our own individual meals today. Overall, a good experience.

French Touch Crêperie

For the last couple of months, as I’ve wandered past the newly opened “French Touch Crêperie” on Crown Street, I’ve been thinking to myself “I really should pop in there any try them out”. But until today, circumstance has never allowed me to do that as I’ve ever either been going to work, or to the supermarket, or simply haven’t been hungry.

In some ways I think I’m still grieving for the loss of Wood & Stone, the terrific gourmet pizza restaurant that inhabited the space for about as long as I’ve lived in Sydney. One of my favourite things on the weekend was to go there, order a small pizza and a glass (or two) of wine, and read the newspaper. The main guy running it was such a friendly guy also, and so it was a very pleasant thing to do on the weekend. But then it closed suddenly and was replaced by “Bar Rialto” which I never really got into in the same way.

When that also closed, it seemed like the space might have remained empty for a while, until finally I saw some renovations underway a few months ago, and I had high hopes for something new. When it was revealed it was only selling crepes, I was a little disappointed to be honest. I’ve never been much of a connoisseur of the crepe.

But today, I decided I’d make amends and went there for a late breakfast. Although the crepe I chose wasn’t all that exciting to my tastes (I probably should have had sweet, rather than savoury) the range on offer was pretty impressive. I’ll definitely go back to try some others. The waiters were also very friendly, and the food arrived fast. But the coffee? OMG the coffee was EXCELLENT. Really excellent coffee.

Onde

As soon as my friend recommended dinner at Onde, my mouth started watering for one of their signature dishes, calves liver. While many would hate the thought of such a dish, I really love the taste and texture. I grew up eating a lot of offal: steak and kidney was a stable when I was growing up, as were liver, brains and all manner of things.

I think a lot of it had to do with my mum and dad having grown up in country towns during the depression, and other economically difficult times. Dad spent his early years on a farm, and mum’s family were also pretty closely connected to the land, and so for them it was probably fairly normal to eat offal, whereas some of the town dwellers I went to school with probably thought it was all a bit gross.

One of my biggest complaints about modern life is that the world is full of fussy eaters. I think it’s a real shame that many parents don’t “force” their children to eat everything that’s put before them, and to try new foods. I see it in my extended family, where the children will tell their parents they don’t like a particular food, and the parents follow their wishes.

Growing up and being “forced” to eat everything on the plane was never an issue for me. I was never “forced”: I love eating. Around Christmas time, when the extended family arrived, I was the one who could be relied upon to finish off the food on other people’s plates. “Garbage guts” was what mum called me. It’s precisely the reason I am a fairly adventurous eater these days (a good thing) and why the thought of calves livers at Onde was so appealing. That, and the fact the people who run Onde are so lovely. It’s such a great place. Highly recommended.